2015 was not a good year, for genealogy or anything else. I'm hoping 2016 will be better. In genealogy, I'm taking a "Do-Over". I'll be following Thomas MacEntee's new year-long do-over plan. My time for genealogy work is limited: as my sister says I work more now that I'm "retired" than I did when I had a "real job". Of course, I consider my business a "real job", but her point is valid. I love my work creating websites and helping people with WordPress problems, but it does take up 60 hours a week.
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My 2016 Genealogy Plans
Budget: Time & Money
Neither time nor money is in great supply this year so I'll have to be frugal with both. My traveling days are behind me for awhile. I'm hoping I'll be able to find both the time and money to attend the 2016 NGS Conference in Fort Lauderdale, but other than day trips for my photography, 2016 will be spent at home. I've also canceled my Ancestry subscription. I have a free year of FindMyPast with my National Genealogical Society membership.
Time-wise I've promised myself to set at least 16 hours a month aside for genealogy: both actual work on my own or training. There is a lot of free training available: I've listed some in my free download -- a 2016 Genealogy Conferences, Workshops, Webinars, and Cruises. Legacy Family Tree offers a lot of good training for a reasonable amount of money. Then there are genealogy podcasts - mostly free. There is actually a lot more training available than I'll be able to fit into the allotted time.
What I Need to Do in Genealogy in 2016
2016 Genealogy Do-Over
I'll be following Thomas MacEntee's year-long Do-Over this year. He has released the Kindle version of his new Do-Over Workbook. I've purchased it and plan to spend some time this evening giving it the once over. I'll be reviewing the workbook here later in the month in a Friday Feature article. Thomas has reorganized the Do-Over to fit the year-long format. The topics for each month are:
- January - Setting Previous Research Aside / Preparing to Research
- February - Establishing Base Practices and Guidelines / Setting Research Goals
- March - Conducting a Self-Interview / Conducting Family Interviews
- April - Tracking & Conducting Research
- May - Citing Sources / Building a Research Toolbox
- June - Evaluating Evidence / Reviewing Online Education Options
- July - Reviewing Genealogy Database Software / Digitizing Photos & Documents
- August - Conducting Collateral Research / Reviewing Offline Education Options
- September - Conducting Cluster Research / Organizing Research Materials: Documents & Photos
- October - Reviewing DNA Testing Options / Organizing Research Materials: Digitial
- November - Reviewing Social Media Options / Building a Research Network / Research Travel Options
- December - Sharing Research / Securing Research Data
Other than the four courses I completed online at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies' last year and the 2/3 of the first cycle of the 2015 Genealogy Do-Over, I made little progress on my genealogy in 2015. I'm hoping with the help of this year-long Do-Over cycle and my continuing studies at NIGS, I'll do better in 2016. Part of my commitment to genealogy in 2016 is to publish something on this blog, at least every other week. I'll be splitting the new content about 1/3 memoirs and my own research, 1/3 technical how-to guides and reviews, and 1/3 genealogy-related news and events.
National Institute for Genealogical Research
I've made a commitment to myself to keep working towards my certificate in American Studies at NIGS. I hope to be able to carry a schedule of two classes every two months, plus my first NIGS - Analysis and Skills Mentoring Program - Part I course which starts on Monday with a year to complete the course. As I was looking up that link for the course I saw that it had required printed materials for the first time. Looking at the list though I see I already own the BCG Standards, which is the only required item, and all of the optional items as well. I'm ready.
I'm currently halfway done with two courses: Google for the Wise Genealogist and US: Land Records. I'll be receiving my grade for Personal Historian: Telling the Stories next week although I actually completed that course in about three weeks and have been done since Thanksgiving. My course schedule for the rest of the year, if I can keep it up follows:
- US: Immigration & Naturalization Records (1 February)
- US: Vital Records, Understanding and Using Their Records (1 February)
- Research: Grandmothers, Mothers & Daughters - Tracing Women (4 April)
- Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies (4 April)
- Genealogy and Copyright Guidelines (6 June)
- Skill-Building: Nuts & Bolts of Reporting Research (4 July)
- Planning a Research Trip (1 August)
- US: Cemetery and Mortuary Records (5 September)
- Genetics and Genealogy (3 October)
- Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording (3 October)
Sometime around July I'm hoping the schedule for 2016 will be out as I'm kind of overbooked from November to December 2016 with about a dozen courses sitting on the list for those dates. 😉
2016 on An American Family
I've run out of previously published Memoirs, so you'll be getting new profiles and portraits of my family and ancestors. I hope they will be a little less hagiographic than some of our previous profiles have been. The newer memoirs may or may not be less emotional than previous efforts, but I'll try to include at least the basic facts of the person's life as well - since this is a genealogy and family history blog.
On the technical side, I'll be continuing my Google Ninja series, although the topics will not be the ones I started out with in 2015. The next article in that series will be an introduction to Google Search Console - which used to be called Google Webmaster Tools. I'll follow that with an introduction to Google Analytics. I'll also be reviewing two products I've really come to depend on: CoSchedule and Xen.do. More will follow as I fill up that 2016 editorial calendar.
Who knows where genealogy-related news and events will take us? I'm putting together a calendar of genealogy workshops, conferences, webinars, and cruises as a download for members of An American Family. So make sure you subscribe now if you haven't already. I'll be adding more cheat sheets, guides, and maybe even an ebook or two to the Downloads section as the year goes on. The only thing I ask in return is your email address and I promise never to share it or abuse the trust you've placed in me by sharing that information.